The Manna Ash.
Fraxinus minore folio.
THIS is a lower tree than the common ash, and is not a native of our kingdom, but is frequent in Italy, where the manna is gathered from its leaves and branches.
The bark of this tree is paler than that of our common ash, and the leaves are composed of smaller and narrower parts, but the flower and fruit differ very little.
They have also in Calabria another low ash tree, which has the backs of the leaves smaller than ours, and flatter and more rounded, and from this also they collect manna for the use of the apothecaries. The manna is a sweet or honey juice that naturally sweats out of the bark and leaves in hot weather. The finest manna of all is that which oozes out of the leaves; this is in small pieces. It flows out of the ribs of the leaves in August, in the heat of the day, and soon hardens into this form. They get the greatest quantities of all, by cutting the bark of the trunk and branches, and this is often large and flaky, but it is yellowish. That which is flaky, white, and hollow, has issued out of itself, and is much better.
Manna is a most excellent purge, very gentle, and without any after astringency. There is a kind of manna used in France, called the Briancon manna; this is produced by the larch-tree (Larix decidua -Henriette): and there is another kind more rare, called Persian manna; this is produced by the shrub called alhagi (Alhagi maurorum -Henriette), a kind of broom, or nearly allied to it. But these are scarce with us.